1. Not so elementary, my dear Watson

    It was just about one year ago when Watson, the game-playing supercomputer system developed by IBM Research, won the Jeopardy! challenge with human grand champions.  The effort to create Watson wasn’t about game playing — but ultimately about solving real problems like providing better medical care and treating chronic diseases.

    For more on how Watson and other technology solutions can help advance healthcare, visit the Smarter Healthcare site.  The short video below offers additional insights on how Watson can be deployed to help solve medical problems.

  2. 09:48

    Notes: 10

    How Watson can help physicians with diagnosis and treatment

  3. Happier days are just around the corner

    One hundred years ago, America was roused from a two year recession by new technologies that helped spur a century of growth.  On the OpEd page of The Wall Street Journal, there’s an interesting piece about three emerging technology trends that will shape the years ahead — The Coming Tech-led Boom.  Co-authors Mark Mills (a physicist and founder of the Digital Power Group) and Julio Ottino (the  dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Northwestern University) believe that Big Data, Smart Manufacturing and ubiquitous Mobile Communications will play major roles in kick starting the next era of economic growth.

    Information technology has entered a big-data era. Processing power and data storage are virtually free. A hand-held device, the iPhone, has computing power that shames the 1970s-era IBM mainframe. The Internet is evolving into the “cloud”—a network of thousands of data centers any one of which makes a 1990 supercomputer look antediluvian. From social media to medical revolutions anchored in metadata analyses, wherein astronomical feats of data crunching enable heretofore unimaginable services and businesses, we are on the cusp of unimaginable new markets.

    Big Data presents both great opportunities and a challenge to be managed.  The challenge is dealing with the massive increase in digital information and storing it efficiently and securely so that it can be mined for deep insights that can guide decision making.  With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, this is no small challenge. You can explore Big Data concepts and applications here.

    The next trend that Mills and Ottino foresee is Smart Manufacturing — improvements that will be made not just by smarter supply chains, but by fundamental advances in materials science. They foresee engineers starting the design process at the molecular level and creating new materials that increase quality and reduce costs.  They also believe that 3D Printing will play a major role — providing the ability to custom-make parts and someday entire products in a process somewhat similar to ink jet printing, which I wrote about here a year ago: Print me a car.

    Their final key trend is wireless communications, which every day is connecting more of the world’s people and giving them the ability to interact as never before.

    Mills and Ottino also believe that the USA is poised to benefit from these three trends because of demographics, the country’s dynamic culture, and the diversity of our educational system. 

    All in all, it’s an interesting and hopeful article — and  is available in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion section. While the Journal's full content is generally only available to its subscriber base, this piece is fully accessible today.

  4. A new record of innovation for IBM

    In 2011, IBM was awarded 6,180 U.S. patents — the most in its history, and for the 19th year in a row, more than any other organization worldwide:2011 Patents

    IBM’s ongoing commitment to invention and innovation has helped it outpace all other information technology companies:

    Patent comparisons

    Today’s announcement includes a snapshot of four of the new patents awarded in the past year.

    Bernard Meyerson, vice president of Innovation at IBM Research and an IBM fellow, has noted these results in a blog post and believes that today’s announcement should serve as a wake up call for others — especially since the composition of the other nine companies making up the top ten has changed from prior years. 

    Meyerson’s post also outlines the four key steps that comprise the formula IBM uses to spur sustained innovation:

    • Tap into global talent pools
    • Collaborate across borders
    • Share resources and ideas
    • Improve science and math skills
  5. The wisdom of the tech crowd

    IBM has published a survey of over 4,000 IT professionals, faculty members and students, who are members of the developerWorks community, to assemble a consensus view on the future of critical technology initiatives including business analytics, cloud computing, mobile devices and applications, and social business tools.  The results are available in the IBM Tech Trends Report — a helpful roadmap to the future of technology.

    Business Analytics

    Similar to the last two global surveys of CIOs released by IBM, the IT professionals in this survey expect business analytics will be the most-adopted technology and that the demand for IT skills in this area will be high.  The respondents also predict how they expect organizations to use analytics tools and insights.

    IBM has established Analytics Solution Centers around the globe to help customers learn more about the promise and potential of using analytics to drive faster and better decision making.

    If you are interested in scheduling a briefing at one of the centers, you can go here to access links to the individuals responsible for the schedules at these centers.  You might also find it convenient to attend a virtual briefing at the IBM Virtual Analytics Solution Center.  You can access six different presentations in the Main Auditorium that address various aspects of the value that analytics can help create.

  6. Are you up for a little crystal ball gazing?

    At the end of each year, the research scientists in IBM Labs around the world conjure up five innovations that will take hold over the next five years and change the way we all work and live.  The 2011 edition of 5 in 5 is out and predicts significant changes in energy production, a continued expansion of mobile devices and access, analytics that help sort through the clutter of everyday life, and the end of passwords.

    The IBM 5 in 5 site has information on these trends and offers you a chance to engage in the discussion.  It also includes a look back at the 5 in 5 predictions going back to 2006.  Since it’s been five years since 2006, you can review the 5 in 5 from that year and determine how close they are to coming true.

    The video below provides a quick look at the 2011 5 in 5 predictions.

  7. The next 5 in 5: Predictions from IBM Research

  8. 10:41 29th Nov 2011

    Notes: 1

    Analyzing Black Friday and Cyber Monday

    IBM’s Coremetrics unit has tracked online shopping trends in the United States for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

    Sales on Black Friday ran about 24% higher than 2010 — with a 39% increase on Thanksgiving Day — as online shoppers took advantage of pre-Friday sales.  Here’s the hour by hour sales trend lines from this Black Friday compared to the two prior years:

    Black Friday Trends

    While the overall Black Friday trend lines were similar, this year’s Cyber Monday online buying patterns showed a jump in late afternoon / early evening shopping:

    Cyber Monday Trends

    Online sales were up 33% on Cyber Monday — due to more sales and an increase in the average sale by about $5 or 2.6%. 

    The Coremetrics report also shows the impact of consumers using mobile devices — especially iPhones and iPads — to conduct transactions.  You can find more details on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday results here.  You can also download the full report published by the IBM team.

  9. 15:52 17th Nov 2011

    Notes: 2

    Stay safe out there

    Security has long been a top-of-mind issue for CFOs, CIOs and other business leaders. However, with the expansion of mobile devices and users, the explosion of data, the move of applications and data into the cloud, and the perennial existence of some people up to no good, the need to maintain a focus on the security of information and systems has never been higher.

    Keeping on top of the latest security risks is a challenge, as well as an absolute business necessity. Timely information is always a critical tool to manage the changing threat landscape effectively. To this end, the latest IBM X-Force Threat Insight Report – the 2011 mid-year update — is a valuable tool. The mid-year report is now available at the IBM X-Force Threat Reports website:

    This report provides statistical information about all aspects of threats that affect Internet security, including software vulnerabilities and public exploitation, malware, spam, phishing, web-based threats, and general cyber criminal activity. The report is intended to help customers, fellow researchers, and the public at large understand the changing nature of the threat landscape and what might be done to mitigate it.

    The X-Force website offers a four page executive summary and the 92-page full report – both of which are available for download. The full report requires registration, while the executive summary does not. The full report contains four sections: I) Threats; II) Operating a Secure Environment; III) Developing Security Software; IV) Emerging Trends in Security.

    For a discussion on security and the broader theme of enterprise risk management, you can watch the video below hosted by Harvey Koeppel, the executive director of the Center for CIO Leadership.  Harvey engages three CIOs — including IBM’s — in exploring the topic.

  10. Center for CIO Leadership Video Series - CIO Perspectives | Risk Management